Meatco has taken the initiative to develop and operate a feedlot on the farm Annasruh located about 4 km north of Gobabis in an effort to boost the productivity of the Omaheke region, more commonly known as “Cattle Country.”
The feedlot operations are meant to cater for the communal and commercial farmers in Gobabis and surrounding areas namely Eiseb, Epukiro, Otjinene and Rietfontein to mention but a few with the aim of purchasing more cattle for slaughter.
Rosa Hamukuaja-Thobias, Manager: Corporate Affairs of Meatco, yesterday announced these exciting plans, saying the feedlot will start off with 26 pens that will expand to 52 in future. Meatco plans to start off with only 11 200 animals with about 3 200 standing and to be rotated 3.5 times a year. This will gradually increase to around 12 000 standing cattle over a period of 3 to 5 years. The project has the ability to provide 30 000 cattle a year. There will also be a processing facility for arriving and departing cattle, a feed mixing and storage facility, as well as an additional feed dispenser.
Elia Kavari, a farmer in the area, says he is excited about the venture. “We need a feedlot to help us raise our weaners to slaughter cattle. The feedlot will also improve our cattle numbers, especially weaners. Gobabis produces a lot of cattle but with no feedlot in the area, we end up selling our cattle to other countries since access is easier. But now, thanks to this development, we can sell our animals to Meatco.”
Another farmer agrees with Kavari, adding that he is very excited about the construction of a feedlot in
Gobabis. “I support the idea of having a feedlot here as it will help us a lot,” said Victor Kaune. “We have had problems accessing
feedlots and in most cases we have to send our cattle to Okahandja or sell to South Africa. It will be much better to have a local feedlot for us to raise our weaners for slaughter.”
With concerns raised by community members, stakeholders and neighbours of the feedlot, Meatco has been undergoing assessment and is following all legal requirements to get the go-ahead for the feedlot. One of the considerations is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), where the public was given the opportunity to raise their concerns, or to speak in support of the feedlot.
Special Advisor to the Governor of the Omaheke Region, Pijoo Nganate, said that the region is known as “cattle country” – something they are very proud of. He also said that cattle on-the-hoof in the area are usually exported to South Africa, but that they do not reap the benefits of these transactions. Many people – an alarming 30% – in the region are unemployed.
“It will be great to have a feedlot for both communal and commercial farmers in our region. As much as we have to consider the concerns raised by the community and stakeholders, I believe that with proper communication and due consideration, it will be a positive investment in our region,” Nganate said.
Paul Strydom of the Meat Board concurred with Nganate’s statement, saying that, “In principle, feedlot operations in direct synergies with abattoirs are an advantage to the Namibian meat industry, and such initiatives should be promoted”.
The feedlot will not only be of benefit to Meatco, but will be to the advantage of the economy, since more cattle will be slaughtered, which will increase products for local markets. At the same time the community will benefit from employment opportunities, which is also in line with the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development’s (MITSD) Growth at Home strategy.